Day of Judgement. Belief in the Hereafter
Day of Judgement. Belief in the Hereafter
(Moulana Abdul Hamid Lachporia Saheb,Canada)
Followers of all major religions of the world believe that there will be a Day of Judgement, though we do not know where or when this will come about. Belief in the Aghirah - what pertains to the Day of Judgement, bodily resurrection, Jannah and Jahannum are basic articles of faith in Islam. In the Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an we find that when the companions of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam asked him about the Day of Judgement he replied that this was known only to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala Who had made this crystal clear to us in verses 18 and 19 of Surah Al-Infitar:
"And what will make thee realize what the Day of Judgement is? The Day when no soul controls aught for another soul. And the Command that day belongs exclusively to none other than Almighty Allah."
These two verses give a clear indication that there will indeed be a Day of Judgement, but it does not give any indication as to when it will come about. Islam asserts that the present life is but a minute part of the totality of our existence. The Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an informs mankind of the reality of another life of a very different nature from the life of this Doonya, of infinite duration. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, the All-Wise, All Powerful Creator of the heavens and the earth is easily able to transform His Creations from one state of being to another. Can we for a single moment imagine that it can be more difficult for Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen to raise us up from the dead than it was to create us in the first place?
The Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an speaks time and time again of familiar and obvious examples of exactly such transformations; the coming to life again of the earth after it lies dead and barren in the grip of winter or after a severe drought; the development of a sperm and an ovum into an embryo in the environment of the mother's womb, and its further development from that state into a thinking and feeling human being living in the Doonya. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala declares in verse 39 of Surah Ha-Min (or Fussilat):
"And among His Signs is this: Thou seest the earth barren and desolate, but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and yields increase. Verily, He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to the dead. Lo! He has power over all things."
Islam lays the greatest stress on an individual's accountability to none other than Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. A human being's life in this Doonya constitutes a trial, an examination period, during which he or she prepares himself or herself, either for good or for evil, for the next life of infinite duration. The Day of Kiyama'h may be compared to the ending of the examinations during which the Teacher will ask each individual student:
"What were you doing during the exam?" and will then evaluate the work he or she hands in. For although man's body dies, his soul and his personality has an existence extending beyond the present life; it is a continuous entity whose inner state will accompany it into the Aghirah. It is this state, together with our deeds, which will determine our ultimate destiny. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala has made things very clear to us in verse 28 of Surah Al-Baqara:
"How can you reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that you were without life and He gave you life. Then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; And again to Him will you return."
It is obvious that an individual who has lived with the correct awareness through complete submission to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala is in an entirely different inner state from the one who has lived his or her life with an incorrect or distorted awareness. In very vivid, awe-inspiring language, The Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an sketches over and over again the outline of events on the Last Day. At a time when Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen sees fit, this Doonya will be brought to an end in a most terrifying cosmic cataclysm frightful beyond human comprehension and/or imagination.
An on that awesome Day of Judgement, the bodies of the dead will be raised from their Qabirs (graves) and rejoined with their souls, while those who were alive on the Doonya at the time will die and be joined to this great assembly of humanity. Every human being, past and present, will then stand in judgement before Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, each one totally alone and helpless as when they came into the Doonya, to render their full accounting. And so it will surely be in the life hereafter with the Judgement of Almighty Allah. The innocent and the guilty alike will go before their Supreme Creator and Judge, Who will mete out reward and punishment, whichever the case may be. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala has made it abundantly clear to us in verses 33 to 42 in Surah Abasa regarding the outcome of the Awesome Day:
"Then when there comes the deafening noise, that Day a man shall flee from his brother, his mother and his father, and his wife and his children. Each one of them that Day will have enough concern (of his own) to make him indifferent to the others. Some faces that Day will be beaming, laughing and rejoicing. And other faces that Day will be dust-stained; blackness will cover them. Those will be the deniers of Allah, the doers of iniquity."
Those who denied Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen and rejected His Guidance and who devoted themselves to the worship of deities other than Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, will be consigned to a fearsome and terrible abode. There they will be in a perpetual and enduring state of agony and torment from which there will be no respite. They will long, beg and plead for another chance to return to the Doonya to live their lives differently in the light of their present knowledge of reality but it will be too late; the examination will be over and all the books closed, and they will have no other choice but to acknowledge the justice of their destiny which is due to what their own hands wrought, in spite of all the warnings which were sent to guide them.
As for those who believed in Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, who obeyed and submitted totally and completely to Him and to Him Alone and lived their lives for His Pleasure, and who departed from this worldly life in a state of Imaan and total surrender to Him, a state of unutterable Muhabbat, contentment and satisfaction awaits them as promised by Almighty Allah in verses 68 to 70 in Surah Az-Zukhruf:
"O My servants! No fear shall be on you that Day nor shall you grieve - those who have believed in Our Signs and submitted, Enter the Garden, you and your wives, in rejoicing."
These two states, Janna'h and Jahannum, will be experienced in physical form by the new bodies which Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala will raise us up with. They are not merely spiritual or psychic states. While we do not know their exact nature, the Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an tells us that the inhabitants of Janna'h will experience some things which will remind them of their life on the Doonya, that the happiness and beauty of it will far exceed anything one can imagine, and that the ultimate triumph and bliss for those who have attained Janna'h will be in nearness to Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen. As for those who have deserved Jahannum, theirs will be a temporary or permanent state of torture depending on their inner condition and the nature and extent of their sins. The Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an describes Jahannum as a state of intense, fearful burning and agony without respite, among the most horrifying and loathsome surroundings and inhabitants.
The most awful part of the suffering of its inhabitants will be the terrible, inescapable awareness that this is the destiny which they deserved and brought upon themselves by rejecting Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala and ignoring the Guidance which He had conveyed to them through the Ambiya Alayhim Salatu Wasallam i.e. from Nabee Adam Alayhis Salatu Wasallam to our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. This clear reality of the future life is always before the mind and consciousness of a devout Muslim. It is this awareness which keeps the present life on the Doonya, in the midst of the most intense happiness and the deepest pain alike, in perspective: the perspective of a passing, temporary abode in which one has been placed as test in order to qualify and prepare oneself for our "future home".
This perspective is essential for the maintenance of mental balance and stability amidst the difficulties of life. Yet no Muslim, even the best among them, imagines that he or she is guaranteed Janna'h; on the contrary, the more conscientious and God-fearing one is, the more he or she is aware of his or her shortcomings and weakness. A Muslim knows that Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala Alone controls life and death, and that death may come to him or her at any time, tries to send ahead for his or her future existence such good deeds as will merit the Muhabbat and Pleasure of his or her Glorious Creator, so that he or she can look forward to it with hope for His Mercy and His Grace. Islam teaches us that the task of a human being is to make a sincere effort to strive, to do our very best - not, as is so often incorrectly stated, simply to sit back and let things take their course in blind resignation to some supposed "fate" or "destiny".
No human being knows and cannot know wherein his or her destiny lies until one has exhausted all possible means and what is inevitable occurs, he or she cannot be said to have encountered that destiny. Whatever Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala ordains, whatever comes to one after all our efforts have been made, should be received with Sabir and trusting acceptance of what He in His Infinite Wisdom has seen fit to send, and with the expectation that it may prove to be a source of good and of ultimate blessing in the broader perspective of the Life-to-Come.
(Moulana Abdul Hamid Lachporia Saheb,Canada)